Welcome to our newest column, On Board in 20 by Lisa Bolton: a recipe series where we share wholesome, family style meals you can prepare in about 20 minutes. The recipes always contain whole food ingredients and are intended to be brought to the table for family members to build and construct their individual plates as their senses guide them. Along the way, we hope to bring you tips and tricks for speeding up prep and clean up for those busy weeknight meal times.
Sticky Greek Chicken over Cauliflower Couscous
This bright board has a strong Greek influence and introduces the spice blend zahtar into your pantry. Much like garam masala or dukkah, zahtar is a blend of a herbs and spices that can bring big flavour to your family mealtimes without the time-consuming process of having to measure out each individual component. Zahtar is a mix of roasted sesame seeds, sumac, thyme and sometimes salt. The sumac and thyme is a killer combo, while the seeds add an ever so slight crunch to the chicken. On this board, the chicken is pounded out quite thin to speed up the cooking time – a trick that works well with pork also.
The vegetable count is high for this meal with a secret boost in the starch. Ricing the cauliflower allows it to blend seamlessly with the couscous giving the wee pasta a nutritional kick. Our family is personally not a fan of olives or green peppers – standard Greek salad components – but they certainly could be added without much extra effort.
The skewers allow family members to cut and create their own salads saving time on the prep side. The dressing is lazy tzatziki that if you felt was missing some punch could benefit from a half a grated garlic clove.
- ½ head cauliflower, riced (see instructions)
- 1 cup couscous
- small handful of fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons zahtar seasoning
- 1 teaspoon agave
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- ½ English cucumber, cut into 8 chunks
- ⅓ cup feta, cut into 8 cubes
- ¼ red onion, cut into 8 pieces
- 4 bamboo skewers
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup of grated cucumber
- salt and pepper
- scallions and/or fresh parley for garnish
- 1 lemon, quartered
- Start a kettle boiling with 2 cups of water. Rinse cauliflower and roughly chop. Put in a food processor and pulse until it resembles “rice”. Remove from processor and set aside. Don’t worry about rinsing out processor – it’s okay if a bit of cauliflower crumbs remain. Add couscous and fresh herbs. Pulse until combined. Add two cups of boiling water. Put lid on food processor and let sit.
- Heat a heavy cast iron pan on medium-high with olive oil. Lay out chicken thighs and season one side generously with half the zahtar spice. Put parchment over thighs and pound out flat with a mallet or rolling pin. Place thighs seasoned side down into pan. Season top side with remaining spice and drizzle agave over. Cook about 4-5 minutes per side.
- While chicken is cooking assemble skewers, alternating a tomato, cucumber, onion and feta. For the dressing, squeeze out the excess moisture from the cucumber and mix in a small bowl with the yogurt.
- To assemble: Fluff the couscous with a fork; add the riced cauliflower, white balsamic and salt and pepper to taste. Combine well and place in bowl in centre of board. Put a skewer on each corner. Pile the thighs in the centre, on the cauliflower couscous. Garnish with leftover oregano, scallions, and parsley. Finally, top with fresh ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Did you miss Lisa's first On Board in 20 column? Be sure to check out her Mini Ricotta Meatballs Over Lemon Rice and Peas!
Lisa Bolton is the creator, writer and photographer behind Food Well Said, her blog about bringing thoughtfully prepared, whole food recipes. She lives in the Lower Mainland of BC and you can reach her on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.